Part of planning for a successful plastic surgery outcome is understanding when not to proceed with surgery. We’ve all heard it said before: “Timing is everything.” The old saying holds most true when planning for surgery to improve the appearance of your body.
Perhaps you have already done your research and you know which procedure or procedures you are interested in. The next question becomes, how do you know when the time is right? Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Brzowski breaks down some of the situations where patients come to see him because they are interested in a particular surgery, but the timing isn’t quite right for them just yet.
Plastic Surgery & Weight Loss
Whether you have lost ten, twenty, fifty, or a hundred pounds, you may have found that your skin did not shrink back as the fat disappeared. As exciting as it is to shed some weight and massively improve contour, it can be frustrating to deal with loose, sagging skin.
Plastic Surgery Procedures Used to Restore Shape after Weight Loss:
- Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty)
- Body Lift
- Breast Lift
- Arm Lift
- Thigh Lift
The ability of skin to shrink back after weight loss depends on a variety of factors, including genetics and age. Those two factors aside, in all likelihood, the more weight you have lost, the more excess skin you have. There are a variety of plastic surgery procedures available to remove excess skin and replace sagging skin with a tight, smooth contour. In his Salt Lake City practice, Dr. Brzowski offers tummy tucks, body lifts, arm lifts, thigh lifts and breast lifts to help patients improve the shape of their body after weight loss.
Goal Weight vs. Stable Weight
Does reaching your goal weight mean you are ready for surgery? “Not necessarily,” says Brzowski. There are cases where patients meet their goal weight, but they find themselves still successfully losing weight – weight they hadn’t originally set out to lose. He urges his patients to wait until they have reached a stable weight, a point where the weight loss has plateaued.
“We want to be able to operate on them when they’re at the size, the condition, the shape that they’re going to be at for the longest period of time,” says Brzowski. “The timing is everything when it comes to their weight. We want a stable target. If it’s going up or going down, I ask them to hold off until we can see where they are going to level out. That way they’ll get their best outcome.”
Plastic Surgery & Pregnancy
Pregnancy and breastfeeding are hard on a woman’s body. Breasts deflate and sag, the muscles of the abdomen are stretched out of position, and the skin is stretched beyond its ability to shrink back. Thankfully, the changes don’t have to be permanent. Women who want their skin tight, their breasts lifted and the volume of their breasts restored are often great candidates for a mommy makeover.
Plastic Surgery Procedures Used to Restore Shape after Pregnancy:
- Tummy Tuck
- Breast Lift (Mastopexy)
- Breast Augmentation
Mommy makeover is a term used to describe a combination of procedures that are used to restore the body after pregnancy. For the breasts, surgery may include a breast lift, also known as a mastopexy, or a breast augmentation, or a combination of the two. For the tummy, procedures may involve liposuction and/or an abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck.
Timing Surgery with Multiple Pregnancies
When a woman visits Dr. Brzowski for help restoring her figure after pregnancy, he wants to know if she plans on having more children. “They come in to see me, they need to restore some volume with an implant, they need to have breast tightening and an elevation of the nipple through a mastopexy, but they are planning to have another child in a year or two,” shares Brzowski. “Generally speaking, I’ll tell those patients, ‘Listen, you might get away with adding some volume to your breasts, but in my opinion, I don’t think doing a breast lift at that point makes a lot of sense.'”
The potential for those patients to have recurrent stretching and sagging of the skin during the following pregnancy makes doing the breast lift at that time not the best decision for the patient. For Dr. Brzowski, on the other hand, it would make business sense to operate on the patient both now, and then again in the future, but it does not make financial sense for the patient.
“I would never want a patient to come into my office and get a recommendation from me that was solely based on what I thought was best for me,” points out Brzowski. “We’re taking care of people and we want to take care of people in a way that we would want to be taken care of.”